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Why Indian Cricket After Sachin Would Never Be The Same Again

A placard at Sachin’s inning against England in 2011 ODI world cup read: “Commit your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching.”

The above quote sums up what Sachin meant for the multitude of cricket fans in India. The biggest ever sporting icon that India has ever produced, he was also a great ambassador of the game. When he announced his retirement from international cricket, it triggered a widespread gloom and disappointment. But why? Everything, good or bad, has to end one day. It was inevitable and the fans knew it. Then why this reaction?

To understand that, we need to understand why people loved Sachin. We need to understand the phenomenon that he was.

During his illustrious career that spanned 24 years, he played with the burden of expectations of a billion people every time he walked out to bat.

“Outside grounds, people wait until he goes in before paying to enter,” Shane Warne once said. “They seem to want a wicket to fall even though it is their own side that will suffer. This is cricket as Sachin has known it since the age of 16. He grew up under an incredible weight of expectation and never buckled once.”To not budge under that pressure and to perform consistently was no meagre achievement.

Tendulkar appealed to the ordinary Indian because of his understated personality. A developing country with a history of colonial subjugation would look for any chance that could boost its hurting pride and Tendulkar gave it exactly that.

Tendulkar made his debut in an India still poor, marginal, and self-protectionist. He retired in an India enriched by 20 years of rampaging growth, a country whose burgeoning population and thriving economy have made it the superpower of world cricket.

A weak, insecure nation looks up to inspirational leaders for motivation, needs sporting heroes – larger than life players on the cricketing field who can transcend the limitations of their country and team. Tendulkar was the diminutive colossus who showed his countrymen that an Indian too could be the world’s best. No doubt he was elevated to the stature of a God in the country where cricket is not a sport but a religion.

He unified people like nobody else. When he went out to bat, the entire nation cheered for him, irrespective of religion, caste or creed. The skill and versatility of his batsmanship made millions of Indians temporarily forget their everyday insecurities and come together to cheer for their hero.

With his retirement, many people lost interest in the game, especially the people who had grown up watching him play, people who emulated him and wanted to be like him. It was like the end of an era but not the end of the sport. The game is always bigger than an individual.

There have been legends before Sachin and there will be legends after him too. When Gavaskar retired, everyone said there won’t be another Gavaskar again but we got Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, and Sehwag. Sachin was a name bigger than all of them but there is no reason why there cannot be an icon bigger than him in the future.

Stars of today are the legends of tomorrow and we already have stars in Kohli, Rohit, Pujara, Rahane etc. The list is long. There are lots of talented players and one of them may go on to be the next big thing.

Kohli with his talismanic talent, youthful exuberance and fierce competitiveness is the new poster boy of Indian cricket.

So the question that many people ask: “after Tendulkar, who?” is a paradoxical one. It no longer matters as to “who” it is. Tendulkar, the batsman who defined cricket for an entire generation of Indians, has also redefined the terms in which Indian cricket will now be seen. He came at a time when heroic defeats were the norm rather than blazing wins. He instilled the belief that we can win and dominate. Thanks to his extraordinary achievements, he has raised the bar for all who have followed him. He has left but only after making winning, the new normal.

That is the transformation wrought by the Tendulkar era. After him, Indian cricket will never be the same again. It does not need to be the same. Like everything else, it will also keep evolving and hopefully for the better.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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